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Thousand Islands approves budget with 3.54 percent tax levy increase

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CLAYTON — The Thousand Islands Central School Board of Education has adopted a 2014-15 budget that increases the tax levy 3.54 percent.

The budget, approved last week, sets next year’s spending at $21,497,919, an increase of $1,002,625 over the current year’s budget. The 3.54 percent tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, will be $11,248,321, up by $384,822 from this year.

Superintendent Frank C. House said the district increased the levy by less than the maximum allowed under the state’s tax-cap law, which would have been 3.55 percent.

Mr. House said the budget eliminates one elementary school teacher, but adds an academic intervention services math instructor and a school counselor to work primarily in the high school.

“We won’t be cutting any student programs,” he said. Mr. House said the addition of a counselor is to help meet the needs of the school community that were identified after the recent suicide of Thousand Island junior Daniel J. Briggs, 16.

“I hope the budget passes. The board has worked hard on it and it’s a good budget,” Mr. House said. “I wish the state had given us a little more money, but that didn’t happen.”

District residents also will vote on two propositions: the purchase of new school buses and an increase in aid to local libraries.

Mr. House said the first proposition calls for the purchase of six new school vehicles: four buses, a van and a car. The purchase cost is not to exceed $537,728.

“All vehicles are referred to as buses in the proposition because they will be used to transport children,” Mr. House said.

For the funding for local libraries proposition, community members will decide whether to increase funding to the Depauville Free Public Library by $12,000 for a total annual contribution of $39,500, and to the Hawn Memorial Library by $2,000 for a total annual contribution of $41,500.

Three Board of Education seats are up for election. The seats held by Erin Churchill, Kenneth F. Garnsey Jr. and Lisa A. Ingerson are expiring. All vacancies to be filled will be for full three-year terms. All three incumbents are seeking re-election.

Mr. House said Mrs. Churchill is running unopposed. Running against Mrs. Ingerson is Ruth Lago. Running against Mr. Garnsey is Michael J. Casselman.

Voting will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. May 20 at the middle school/high school library, 8481 County Route 9.

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